Video on the iPad – What Works, What Doesn’t

Apple iPad mania is in full swing, and I thought I’d do my part to contribute to it with a note on video support for the tablet. Several companies have come out this week announcing their ability to deliver video to the iPad including Brightcove, Ooyala, Comcast’s thePlatform, Limelight Networks, and Kyte. But what does that mean? Without Flash on the iPad, the general focus is on HTML5 for video delivery, and these companies are offering publishers ways to automate the creation of HTML5 files.

But even using HTML5 for video only deals with the issue of viewing content in a browser window. So what about stuff you see outside the browser? Like video in a widget?

I should mention at this point that I’m not a disinterested observer here. I do a lot of work now for Limelight Networks, which is heavily promoting its ability to support video delivery to the iPad no matter how that video is viewed. However, as a consumer, the more important point is what video I’ll actually be able to see when I get around to picking up my own Apple tablet. (Not immediately, but soon…) A lot of fun stuff (ahem, Hulu, ahem) will not be available, at least not immediately, though we just heard from Dave that enhanced Slingbox support is on the way. Some video from vendors using the likes of Brightcove, Limelight Networks, etc., will be. Video in non-browser applications may be scarce in the early days.

So is the Apple iPad a video viewing machine? It will be, but beyond the iTunes walled garden and bundled YouTube app it’s going to be limited at launch.

13 thoughts on “Video on the iPad – What Works, What Doesn’t”

  1. Walled garden?! I can move whatever videos I want to my iPhone via iTunes, and I gather the list of supported video formats is even longer for doing so with the iPad.

  2. I’m mostly responsible for that last sentence which we re-wrote a number of times. “Walled garden” was my term, not Mari’s. I wanted us to try and emphasize something like premium, delivered content. Versus sideloading transcoded or downloaded-elsewhere content. In fact, other than iTunes we were discussing referring to it as “web video” versus “video.”

  3. Hey, what’s wrong with discussing side-loaded content? I mean, other than the fact that the iPad is not well designed for such stuff? ;)

    Personally the need to transcode almost any video I’m likely to have makes the iPad a non-starter for me from a video consumption standpoint. Others may disagree, but it smacks me too much of the approach they took with AppleTV. Just way too restrictive, for no good (to the consumer) reason.

  4. I guess I’ve never found it to be that much trouble, Bruce. The software I use to pull shows off my TiVo does the transcoding for me, and hands the finished files to iTunes when it’s done.

  5. Fair enough, if it works for you that’s great, but if I’m choosing between a netbook and an iPad, the fact that one will play *any* video file and the other won’t is of relative importance to me. FWIW.

  6. It looks legit. And there’s been a few other interesting iPad video revelations. So we’ll try to get a followup post up today or tomorrow.

  7. We will have a videoplayer this summer or earlier, and if we can get the libraries to compile for a ipad. And there is every reason to believe it will we will have ipad support when we hit the app store. Probably wi-fi only at least on att.

    We have 3 other video projects in progress and we know a lot more developers working on video apps similar to ours.

    Within a month or two of the ipad launch it will become a video lovers dream.

    Most good stuff comes from independent developers not multimulllion dollar companies.

  8. There will be a slingplayer app so I’ll be able to watch anything from my Tivo I want, live, over WiFi or 3G if I choose to pay for that (probably not).

    I can install the Dropbox app to give me access to my FREE 2GB cloud storage, synched with my Desktop. I can use Tivo Desktop to automatically transcode stuff for me into this folder if I want. Or I can use the LogMeIn app (hopefully updated for the iPad though) to remotely control my desktop computer and transcode things when I need to.

    I can access Netflix and watch stuff on demand when I want.

    I can launch iTunes and buy TV shows or movies to watch anytime I want, even on the plane.

    True, it would be nice if it handled DivX or you could plug in an SD card or USB drive with video on it, but I can live with it the way it is.

    As you say Mari, the biggest issue is Flash. I’m no Adobe fan, and I kind of wish Flash would die, but I still want to watch Hulu. Now if Hulu and most other sites has an iPad app, then I suppose I won’t much care… we’ll see. The developments regarding NBC, ABC and CBS suggest Fox will either jump in too or I just won’t watch their shows…

  9. i recommend you the easiest and cheapest way to convert TIVO to iPad .

    With Brorsoft video converter ,Just several steps,you can accomplish the conversion.

    Step 1: Import TiVo files to TiVo Converter

    Step 2: Edit TiVo files(optional)

    Step 3: Choose iPad MP4 output format

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    Following is the detailed guide,step by step.

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